Naperville Pumpkin Race, festivities offer fun for all ages, abilities

  • Decorated pumpkins with their wheels attached are ready for the annual Naperville Pumpkin Race, sponsored in part by Gerald Auto Group and made possible by the work of the students at Turning Pointe Autism Foundation. This year's event will kick off at noon on Saturday, Oct. 30.

    Decorated pumpkins with their wheels attached are ready for the annual Naperville Pumpkin Race, sponsored in part by Gerald Auto Group and made possible by the work of the students at Turning Pointe Autism Foundation. This year's event will kick off at noon on Saturday, Oct. 30.

  • The decorated pumpkins, assembled with the help of a pumpkin race kit picked up in advance or the morning of race day, are ready to compete in the annual Naperville Pumpkin Race, being held this year on Saturday, Oct. 30.

    The decorated pumpkins, assembled with the help of a pumpkin race kit picked up in advance or the morning of race day, are ready to compete in the annual Naperville Pumpkin Race, being held this year on Saturday, Oct. 30.

  • It's not just about pumpkins at the Naperville Pumpkin Race. Families will find loads of fun including food trucks, a caricature artist, a fall family photo area and a painting event hosted by Pinot's Palette on Saturday, Oct. 31, starting at noon at Rotary Hill Park.

    It's not just about pumpkins at the Naperville Pumpkin Race. Families will find loads of fun including food trucks, a caricature artist, a fall family photo area and a painting event hosted by Pinot's Palette on Saturday, Oct. 31, starting at noon at Rotary Hill Park.

 
Updated 10/26/2021 9:21 AM

Head to Rotary Hill Park in Naperville on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a day of fall fun the whole family will enjoy. Explore fall-themed activities including pumpkin races, a costume contest, a pumpkin decorating competition and much more during the annual Naperville Pumpkin Race hosted by Turning Pointe Autism Foundation. Turning Pointe is thrilled to host this cherished in-person festival once again this year and bring the community back together after months of postponing such events.

The festivities kick off at noon when registration opens for the beloved pumpkin races. To compete, racers must purchase a pumpkin race kit in advance or on race day and assemble their pumpkin according to instructions. All kits are made by students at Turning Pointe, a foundation that runs school for individuals with autism. Assembling race kits gives Turning Pointe students an opportunity to develop critical vocational skills and helps support their development. To date, students at Turning Pointe have assembled nearly 400 kits and counting for racers nationwide. Many racers will attend the Oct. 30 event in Naperville, but some will compete in pumpkin races in their respective states. Local businesses and neighbors purchase kits to hold their own pumpkin races as well.

 

Turning Pointe students get to race their pumpkins at 12:30 p.m., and public qualifying races begin at 1 p.m. The semifinals and Championship Race take place from 3:30 to 4 p.m. While the event will no doubt draw experienced pumpkin racers, Barb Brauer, development and operations director for Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, stressed that the races and other festivities are meant for people of all ages and ability levels.

"Naperville Pumpkin Race is designed for the whole family to enjoy. There is an activity for every age and ability level. We really want to bring the community together and give them a fun, family event that everyone will love and can participate in," said Brauer.

In between and after racing, attendees can enjoy many other fall-themed activities. The costume contest gets underway at 2:30 p.m. on the main track after qualifying races. The contest is divided by age groups of 0-5, 6-10, 11-15, and 16 and older. The pumpkin decorating contest also commences around 2:30, once qualifying races are complete, and competitors have dropped their pumpkins off at the Award Showcase following their qualifier. Judges will begin deliberations around 2:30 p.m. and winners will be announced soon thereafter.

Relish Food Truck and Moose and Me Bakery will be on-site to supply attendees with delicious bites throughout the day. In addition, families can enjoy a free painting event with Pinot's Palette, a fall family photo area, a caricature artist and much more.

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Community events like this aren't possible without the support of generous community partners such as Gerald Cares. The goal of the event is to provide a day of family entertainment at no charge to people of all ages and ability levels. Thanks to Gerald Cares and others, the Naperville Pumpkin Race continues to be a staple in the community and remains free everyone who attends.

"We're thrilled that the Naperville Pumpkin Race could take place again this year," said Donna Lawler, Vice President of Gerald Auto Group. "It's wonderful to see the community come together and continue such a great fall tradition. We're proud to help bring this event to life and help it remain free for all families."

To learn more about Naperville Pumpkin Race, visit turningpointeautismfoundation.org/pumpkin-race.

To learn more about Gerald Cares, visit geraldcares.tumblr.com.

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